Public Comment Period: Proposed Elimination of the New Hampshire Emerald Ash Borer Quarantine
Emerald ash borer (EAB), a non-native beetle from Asia that causes decline and mortality of ash trees, was first detected in New Hampshire in March 2013. New Hampshire’s proactive response to EAB has included quarantine and regulations to reduce EAB spread through the movement of potentially infested ash materials (timber, lumber, firewood, etc.), targeted monitoring and survey, release of natural enemies/biological control, demonstration projects, development of best management practices to reduce spread from known infested areas, and outreach and management recommendations to visitors, industry, and landowners.
The goals of the EAB quarantine were to protect counties with significant ash resources, facilitate safe trade in ash for the wood products industry, and slow the human-assisted spread of EAB and ash mortality. Quarantine does not affect natural population expansion, and the benefits of quarantine diminish as the EAB-infested area increases in size. EAB has been detected in 54 towns in 7 counties in NH, most recently in Center Tuftonboro and Moultonborough in Carroll County and Bridgewater and Bristol in Grafton County. In response to the new conditions, cooperating agencies agree that the time is right to fully transition to a best management practices-based program. Efforts will continue to vigorously conduct targeted monitoring and surveys; release natural enemies and biological controls; promote BMPs to reduce the spread of EAB from infested areas; and provide outreach and management recommendations.
Agencies are seeking public comment on eliminating the within state quarantine from the EAB response. This change would:
- Allow the free movement of ash logs, ash chips, and ash nursery stock within the state and across state lines with Vermont and Massachusetts. Movement of these ash materials to Maine, however, would need to be certified in compliance with the federal EAB quarantine.
- Not go into effect until after the end of the public comment period and official notification has been issued. The current EAB quarantine in NH, which includes Belknap, Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham, and Strafford counties, shall remain in place until notification that the quarantine is eliminated.
Out-of-state firewood movement into NH is prohibited under the exterior firewood quarantine and will be unaffected by changes to the EAB quarantine. Both Maine and Vermont also prohibit out-of-state firewood. The State of New Hampshire encourages people to use locally-sourced firewood to avoid transporting destructive pests long distance. Visit nhbugs.org for more information and firewoodscout.org to find local firewood vendors in NH.
The public comment period will run until September 21st. Comments about eliminating the EAB quarantine may be sent by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, by uploading to NHBugs.org, or by mail: Div. Plant Industry, NH Dept. Agriculture, Markets & Food, 29 Hazen Dr., Concord, NH 03301.